This study was designed to evaluate the effect of recombinant human thrombin (rThrombin) concentration on time to hemostasis (TTH), clot durability, and clot strength in settings that replicate the heparinization and platelet inhibition often found in surgical populations.
A modified, anticoagulated rabbit arteriovenous shunt preparation was selected to model vascular anastomotic bleeding. Rabbits were treated with heparin or heparin + clopidogrel and TTH was measured after applying a range of topical rThrombin concentrations or placebo, in combination with absorbable gelatin sponge, USP. Treatments (placebo, rThrombin) were randomly assigned and the investigator was blinded to treatment. TTH was evaluated with the Kaplan-Meier method. After hemostasis was achieved, clot burst assessment was performed for heparin + clopidogrel treated animals. Clot viscoelastic strength and kinetics were measured in ex-vivo samples using thromboelastography (TEG) methods.
TTH decreased with increasing concentrations of rThrombin in heparin-treated animals and was shorter after treatment with 1000 IU/mL rThrombin (73 seconds) than with 125 IU/mL rThrombin (78 seconds; p = 0.007). TTH also decreased with increasing concentrations of rThrombin in heparin + clopidogrel treated animals; again it was significantly shorter after treatment with 1000 IU/mL rThrombin (71 seconds) than with 125 IU/mL rThrombin (177 seconds; p < 0.001). Variability in TTH was significantly smaller after treatment with 1000 IU/mL rThrombin than after 125 IU/mL rThrombin, indicating greater reliability of clot formation (p < 0.001 for heparin or heparin + clopidogrel treatments). Clot durability was examined in heparin + clopidogrel treated animals. Clots formed in the presence of 1000 IU/mL rThrombin were significantly less likely to rupture during clot burst assessment than those formed in the presence of 125 IU/mL rThrombin (0% versus 79%, p < 0.001). In vitro clot strength and clot kinetics, as determined by TEG in heparin + clopidogrel samples, were positively associated with the amount of rThrombin activity added for clot initiation.
In an animal model designed to replicate the anti-coagulation regimens encountered in clinical settings, topical rThrombin at 1000 IU/mL more reliably controlled the pharmacological effects of heparin or heparin + clopidogrel on hemostasis than rThrombin at 125 IU/mL. Results from in vitro assessments confirmed a positive relationship between the amount of rThrombin activity and both the rate of clot formation and clot strength.